St John Passion BWV 245

This afternoon I have the good fortune of joining some incredibly talented musicians to sing Bach’s Johannespassion. We’re singing it in English instead of the original German, which brings a different sort of drama to the whole thing, and has been an interesting expressive journey.

If you care to watch via the livestream, I highly recommend it.

If amazing singing isn’t your thing (the choir will be joined by Kyle Stegall and Charles Wesley Evans… so if singing isn’t your thing now it might be afterward), then you might join for the historically informed orchestra and their instruments. For our instrumental enthusiasts out there, I’ll tell you that we have a viol de gamba and an oboe de caccia joining us which is as delightful as you might imagine.

If none of this caught your eye, then I still encourage you to watch the concert if for no other reason than because I would love your support. ☺️

The Courage of Failing Publicly

When I was in high school, I once refused to do something that my friends were doing because I knew I wouldn’t like the outcome. When pressed about how I knew and asked “Have you ever tried?” my response was this:

I don’t have time to learn from only my own mistakes.

I’ve never been particularly fond of the notion that in order to know what will and won’t happen one has to personally do all the dirty work of learning.

Knowing this about me, it’s less surprising to hear that I’ve spent a lot of time lately encouraging those around me to “fail publicly”. It’s not an easy call to make, of course. No one likes being wrong, let alone being wrong where everyone can see you. The idea behind it is this: if something doesn’t go as planned, and others can see it, then they can help find a stronger solution.

But there are two chances for discomfort here that I rarely, if ever, acknowledge. Boldly doing something in front of people while knowing that it could go badly is a clear risk. It doesn’t matter what that something is, public imperfection is terrifying. The other discomfort comes after that, though.

Failing publicly has no benefit to us, although it still might to others, if we are not able to learn from it. Growth is never something that comes easy and, if we aren’t open to the idea that something needs to be fixed, personal growth can be stopped in its tracks entirely.

I work on projects that, when done well, are intensely public and open. I have made so many mistakes during my time working on them and witnessed even more than I have made. I didn’t start out with the willingness to share my failings and I think that other people could have learned from me… even if I couldn’t have learned from myself at the time.

So… Note to Self – Do what you can with what you’ve got and let people see where you don’t have what it takes. Someone else might have exactly what is needed to get the job done.